Last Orders

This Booker Prize winning book by Graham Swift tells of four men on a day trip to scatter their friend's ashes to the sea. The chapters are short and the narratives switches with each chapter. Most are told by Ray, the closest friend of the dead man Jack Dodds. There are numerous flashbacks revealing the lives of all the men and a couple of others in their lives. The dialogue is quite sharp and well written; Swift has a knack for characterisation. The language and changing perspectives makes it evocative. I sometimes managed to feel the bitterness and the anger that some of the characters do when they narrate. It is very English; all the characters have a working class background and there is something very stylistic and true about the way he writes about their livelihood. If anything, it feels sincere even if real working class Londoners do not all the issues these characters did. I liked the book for the most part, but it got bit depressing the further you went. The flashbacks reveal missed opportunities, unsaid things, wrong choices, bad luck, and estranged relationships. The ending, as with life, is open ended. Not a very uplifting read, but Swift does have a good voice throughout the story.

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